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Galangal leaves are large, elongated, and have a blade-like shape that tapers to a point. The bright green leaves grow on long stems that stand straight up from the underground fleshy red-brown rhizome, and the leaves can reach 25-35 centimeters in length. Galangal leaves are fibrous and pungent when raw but become tender, sweet, and aromatic when cooked. The flavor of the leaves is similar to ginger, with a subtle spice and hints of citrus. Galangal plants can reach over 1-2 meters in height.
Galangal leaves are available year-round.
Galangal leaves, botanically classified as Alpinia officinarum, is a tropical plant and member of the Zingiberaceae, or ginger family. Also known as Galanga, Kah, Laos root, Lesser galangal, and Garingal, the word galangal is used to describe four different plant species in the ginger family. The most common species for cooking is the Lesser galangal, and it is predominately used for its root, but the leaves are also used as an herb and flavoring agent. Its name is likely derived from the Arabic translation of its Chinese name, Liang Jiang, meaning high, good ginger. Galangal leaves are commonly used in Asia and the Middle East.
Galangal plants contain iron, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Galangal leaves are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, sautéing, and steaming. They are mainly used to impart flavor to soups, stews, curries, and chutneys. The flavors of the Galangal leaf compliment meats, fish, and shellfish, and pairs well with citrus, garlic, and tamarind. Galangal leaves will keep up to a week when stored wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Galangal has a rich history in cooking, but it is most often the root and not the leaf that is recognized. The Galangal leaf is used in Malaysian traditional medicine, especially for after-birth care. Galangal leaves are used in bath water and are believed to stimulate circulation and help with post-pregnancy rheumatism.
Galangal leaves are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, specifically in southern China. Today, Galangal is cultivated in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia and can be found in specialty markets in Europe, Asia, and the United States.
Recipes that include Galangal Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Pan Cuisine||Beef Liver & Galangal Leaves Chutney - Naga Chutney|